Wednesday, July 12, 2000

Hamilton likely to OK park road

Neighbors oppose project

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — City Council appears ready to move forward with a plan to build a controversial road through Millikin Woods.

        With six members of council divided on the issue, Councilman Richard Holz berger said he will vote at tonight's meeting to spend $200,000 to conduct an engineering study.

        “I feel that I must support the roadway. We have given direction not only to the city leaders, but to the workers for nearly five years to plan this road,” Mr. Holzberger said. “I would rather err on the side of progress, rather than to say no now and later regret that vote.”

        The Millikin Woods Preservation Association, which collected more than 1,000 signatures for a petition, says the road will eliminate green space, create an unsafe atmosphere for children and destroy wildlife.

        “It's a beautiful woods. It's very pristine. I think we should preserve our green space as much as we can,” said Maureen Gallardo, president of the group.

        Mayor Adolf Olivas, Vice Mayor Tom Nye and Councilwoman Sharon Hughes favor building Washington Boulevard; Councilwoman Kathy Becker and Councilmen George McNally and Don Ryan oppose the road.

        Mr. Olivas said the proposed road could bring more people to the park, increase safety to park-goers and provide better access for safety personnel. By the mayor's count, up to 30 trees and stumps will have to be removed if the road is built.

        “I'm still inclined to go for the greater good of the community, although it may not be the smart thing to do politically,” Mr. Olivas said.

        Mrs. Becker said she opposes the road because “the people are clearly saying no.” She also doesn't think the road is “going to make a difference in the economy of Hamilton.”

        City Manager Steve Sorrell is recommending that City Council complete the first phase of the project — a road from Millville Avenue to Sunset Drive. He gave several reasons: improved traffic access between the southwest portion of the city and the Main Street business corridor; an additional railroad crossing; improved local vehicular and pedestrian circulation; and enhanced access for police and fire services.

        Members of the Forest Hills Association said they will attend tonight's meeting to ask council to delay construction until city officials provide facts about the benefits of the road.

        “I want them to start thinking before they act,” said James Stever, secretary of the group, which is also circulating a petition.

        Building a road from Millville Avenue to Sunset Drive would cost about $2 million and take about three years.

        The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 20 High St.


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